Friday, September 21, 2012

The Webelos Campout

Well, we're mostly packed for tomorrow's campout.  Thirty-seven people.  I went around all day telling people I don't know how to cook for thirty-seven people for a whole weekend.  I told at least three people at the middle school fundraiser.  I told a couple more people at the market where I get the good meat.  We'll see if I'm right.  There's nine pounds of stew meat in three quarts of broth that simmered on the stove today for two hours.  It smells like stroganoff, though I didn't taste it to see if the beef was tender.  There is an additional six pounds of ground beef cooked up with McCormick's taco seasonings packet.  The boys got hungry as I was cooking.  Shoot, even I wanted to have tacos for dinner.  Dinner's always an afterthought when I'm cooking for some other event.  You should have seen the day I made eleven pies for the Cub Scout bake sale.  That was a good day, but Mike knew it was a pizza night when he walked into the cloud of flour in my kitchen.  It was kind of fun today too. 

I forgot to listen to my book on tape as I worked.  I'm listening to 'The Girl in the Blue Beret' by Bobbie Ann Mason.  It's a good book, with quite a bit of French dialog thrown in for flair, but the narrator's intonations annoy me.  Sometimes I wonder how much I'd have liked reading a book as opposed to listening.  I can tell you right now that I never would have gotten through Melville's 'Moby Dick' or Barbara Kingsolver's 'Poisonwood Bible' if I'd had to actually read them.  Does it count that I listened?  I think so.  Otherwise, all those book conversations I had with my grandma, who had macular degeneration and was stuck listening, were with someone who hadn't 'read' the book.  Let's not be snobs about this, okay?  So, Mason's book is about a WWII pilot who was shot down in Belgium and was helped by the French Resistance out of the country.  I like when I can get a little history while I'm cooking.  But today, I forgot to listen.  Sometimes it's as entertaining listening to Nick and Adrian in the living room.  Their first school dance is coming up next Friday and while I worked, I listened in. 

So I did all I could to cook ahead.  Mike didn't want me to cook anything ahead, but even at home, I'd cook ahead for a group this size.  Now, it's just a matter of hauling all this stuff out to the truck in the morning, packing it in, driving the ten minutes to Tolt-MacDonald, then loading it into wagons and dragging them across the bridge and a mile down the trail to our campsite. Whew!

This camp doesn't get a lot of traffic, so we're hoping our plastic bins will be good enough to keep the rodents out.  If a bear comes along, Mike said we'd bang pots and shoo him away and then figure out how to hoist up three crates of food and a couple of coolers.  Is that still called a 'bear bag?'  That would be a great adventure. 

I really hope these boys have a good time.  We're camping with about a dozen Webelos from a couple of different Cub Scout Packs.  When I asked about bringing the bag of assorted balls, Mike said,"This is a campout not a party."  It was like I was watching the movie MIB when Zed says, "We're not hosting an intergalactic kegger out here."

What?  I'm supposed to be the one who's all serious and stuff, not Mike.  But he's got plans for the boys.  There's an orienteering course over at the park and they're going to take advantage of it.  I heard talk about geocaching.  A couple of the boys that are going were with Mike when he hiked to place a geocache on that side of the river, so they might go find that one.  Plus, I'm slated to make survival bracelets with the boys.  I made more than twenty for Nick's birthday party, so I can do it. It's been cool seeing some of Nick's friends wearing them.  Shoot, I showed Mike how and he made a few too, so he could do it if I'm out getting something from the store.  Besides, there are instructions right in with the supplies.  The best thing will be if I show a couple of the boys and then they teach each other.  That's the way I want to do it.  I'm not up for teaching a class.  I'm not sure what else they're going to do, but I know my job will be to run get stuff we've forgotten.

Already, I'm slated to go to REI in the morning.  We can't find our griddle.  I know it's somewhere, probably in the shed in a bin that's up on the loft and shoved to the back.  But it won't hurt to have a second griddle.  There are going to be more campouts and if things go well, we could have these same thirty-seven people on more trips and we'll really be able to use two griddles.  I'm telling you - one griddle on Sunday will be a great bottleneck.  At least with the griddle, Mike will be able to make four pancakes at a time.  With three pancakes apiece, that will be 111 pancakes.  Four at a time, Mike will have to make twenty-eight batches of pancakes.  That man is going to be making pancakes until it's time to heat up the taco meat for lunch.  But what is camping if it's not about food? 

Unfortunately, I won't be around to tell him 'I told you so' because I have to sally off to church on Sunday to play the piano.  Yes, I did say that.  I'm going to play the piano at church on Sunday.  You just know how I like doing that, don't you?  My skills are rusty.  When I get nervous, my fingers freeze up and I can't read a sentence and understand it let alone read music.  Add to that the fact that my glasses don't have a middle setting and I'm leaning forward, trying to tilt my head back so I can read the blurry little notes.  Yeah, I really thinking that when I'm done, they'll be begging our half-time pianist never to go away on vacation again.  Well, hopefully.  I really don't have room for one more commitment.

It's enough for me to be feeding thirty-seven people over the weekend, don't you think?

Thank you for listening, jb

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